Christijan Albers heads into his first season with MF1 Racing having learned the ropes during his rookie season with Minardi in 2005. He is now familiar with all the circuits and understands how F1 works -- experience he will be able to put to...
Christijan Albers heads into his first season with MF1 Racing having learned the ropes during his rookie season with Minardi in 2005. He is now familiar with all the circuits and understands how F1 works -- experience he will be able to put to good use in 2005.
Christijan had done a lot of testing for Minardi over several seasons, but nothing quite prepares a driver for his first full season of racing at the F1 level. Of course, there was a limit to what he could achieve with the equipment he had, but he did at least earn a fifth place at the controversial US GP in June.
The 26-year-old sees his move to MF1 as a major step forward in his career.
"It's a really good feeling to be part of this team, and especially it's a really good feeling to be back in England," says the Dutchman. "You feel immediately that England is a really a racing country, and that was the first thought when I came into Midland. Everybody is really motivated and they're really ready for the fight, and I'm part of this."
Christijan's move to MF1 Racing has attracted considerable interest in Holland, where he has built up a large fan base over the years. Like Jos Verstappen before him, Christian is going to attract many his countrymen to the races, especially those in Europe.
"We have really a lot of fans in Holland, and they support me really well. We can improve on that every year, it needs to be bigger, and to get more multinational supporters would be really nice. Of course, the pressure will be there. Last year was a learning year; there wasn't much pressure with Minardi. There was a lot of push for me in the team, and we wanted to beat the Jordans. Sometimes it was easy, and sometimes it was a hard, hard job!"
Inevitably, the man you always want to beat most is your team mate. Last year, Christijan started the season alongside Patrick Friesacher and ended it with countryman Robert Doornbos as his partner. There was a strong rivalry between the two, but as Albers acknowledges, it's always better to work together for the overall good of the team. He is looking forward to working with Monteiro.
"I think he did a really good job last year. He was rookie of the year. It's good to have two team mates from different countries, and also he's a really good guy to work with. Of course, we want to beat each other, but I think we have to keep one thing in mind, which is first bring the car up to a pace, and work as well as possible to do that, and then hopefully the results will be there. At the end of the story that's the only thing that counts: the results."
So what is Christijan's aim for this year? He's confident that he'll be able to get the M16 into the points over the course of the season.
"I hope to be on the podium! You have to set a goal, because if you don't set a goal, you had better stay at home. To be really realistic, we definitely should go for the points. When I drove the car from last year in a test in Jerez, that car was already in a much better state than what I had [at Minardi] last year. The improvements we have made are really amazing, so I think it's going to be a nice season."